- The Essential Eight: The Only Economic Indicators Investors Need to Know
- Investment News Briefs
- Investment News Briefs
- As Bank Failures Grow, FDIC Options Narrow
- U.S. Economy Will Grow Faster Than Expected, Jobs to Return to Growth Next Year, Economists Say
- Markman on the Markets: Is it Time to Buy Monsanto?
- Insights on Insiders: Buying and Selling by Executives and other Corporate Insiders Can Give Investors a Profitable Advantage
- Emerging Markets Consider Capital Controls to Combat "Hot Money" Inflows
- Investors Can’t Ignore a Rebounding Japan
- Hot Stocks: Comcast Looks to Expand Its Brand with Potential NBC Universal Takeover
- OECD More Than Doubles 2010 Forecast, as China Leads the World Out of the Recession
- New Technology Turns Coal Into Clean, High-Powered Gas
- SEC Filing Shows Buffett Played It Safe Ahead of His Burlington Northern Buyout
- Battle for Cadbury Gets Sticky as Hershey & Italy's Ferrero Mull Offer
- When Stimulus Spending Winds Down, Will U.S. Businesses Step in For Tapped-Out Consumers?
- Investment News Briefs
When it comes to economic indicators, the list is almost endless. One economic indicator follows another, filling an entire calendar - weekly, monthly, quarterly, annually. But on the specific day an indicator is announced, it seems to be the biggest deal going: Commentators comment, pundits pontificate, analysts and economics analyze, predict and forecast, and financial markets around the world react - often violently.
The next day brings a new batch of indicator reports. Yesterday is forgotten as the frenetic cycle plays itself out all over again.
Given this pattern, it's not surprising that the economic-indicator game seems confusing - and perhaps even pointless. In the eyes of many investors, the only thing these indicators seem to "indicate" about the economy is that it can be highly confusing and extremely difficult to predict.
Reuters Poll Shows Manufacturing Decline; Treasury Pushing Banks to Stem Foreclosures; Sands Hong Kong IPO Flops; India GDP Growth Could Lead to Monetary Tightening; LatAm to Return to Growth in 2010; China Snaps Back at Currency Accusations
While FDIC-insured banks reported a net income of $2.8 billion in the third quarter, bank lending fell by 2.8%, the most since records were first kept in 1984 and the fifth consecutive quarter loan balances declined. The FDIC's Deposit Insurance Fund (DIF) went into the red at the end of September and the bank insurer today (Tuesday) revealed just how steep the loss it was when the quarter ended: $8.2 billion.
A panel of 48 economists surveyed by the National Association for Business Economics (NABE) showed gross domestic product (GDP) in the United States will grow by 3.2%, but job losses won't bottom until the first quarter of next year. A previous NABE forecast said employers would add 12,000 to payrolls in that quarter.
My research tells me that the answer to that question is a definite "yes."
When it comes to basic materials investments, we've talked a lot about gold and steel, but don't forget the agricultural goods. As you can see in the chart that follows, St. Louis-based seed-producer Monsanto last week broke out of a long downtrend and consolidation.
Insider stock transactions – the buying and selling of stock by corporate “insiders” – won’t tell you where the overall stock market is headed. But the analysis of this type of legal insider trading can be a handy indicator when it comes to making buy and sell decisions on individual stocks.
In fact, by watching insider transactions, investors can actually gain an edge in certain situations, an academic researcher and leading expert on insider transactions said in an interview with Barron’s earlier this month.
Loose monetary policy in the United States and Europe has flooded fast-growing Asian economies where Western investors are seeking higher yields. India, Taiwan, South Korea, Hong Kong, and Indonesia are among the regions investigating options to combat the rapid inflows of foreign capital that are driving up stock prices, and threatening their export sectors by forcing their currencies to appreciate.
"With interest rates exceptionally low and with abundant liquidity around the world, Hong Kong faces the potential risk next year that asset prices may go up sharply and become increasingly disconnected from economic fundamentals," the Hong Kong Monetary Authority said on its Web site.
Politically, U.S.-Japanese relations have improved dramatically during that two-decade stretch.
Yet investor regard for Japan has gone the opposite way. Twenty years ago - in the midst of the Japanese stock-and-real-estate bubble - U.S. and other world investors were kowtowing to Japanese investments - and banging their heads on the floor in the process.
Comcast, the United States' largest cable television provider, is hoping to avoid becoming the next newspaper or record company by expanding its role from an entertainment medium to a content provider.
"The world of cable delivery is about to change," Forrester Research (Nasdaq: FORR) analyst James McQuivey told the Los Angeles Times. "Cable companies for years have made their living by selling consumers hundreds of television channels bundled together. But the future is going to be very different, and cable companies instead will be selling an 'entertainment experience.'"
After predicting in June that the combined economy of its 30 member nations would grow 0.7% in 2010, the OECD raised its forecast for developed economies to grow 1.9% next year and 2.5% in 2011. Economic output will contract by 3.5% this year, the Paris-based organization said today.
“We now have the numbers that support a recovery in motion,” Jorgen Elmeskov, the OECD's acting chief economist, told Bloomberg News. “It's still a slow recovery because of considerable headwinds from the need to adjust the balance sheets of households, enterprises and financial sectors.”
A new fuel technology – unveiled just two weeks ago – is about to revolutionize the energy business.
I saw it firsthand.
General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) asked me to present “The Future of Natural Gas” at the company’s Gas Turbine Symposium in Greenville, S.C. That’s where GE revealed a new generation of its market-leading turbine technology.
Buffett trimmed Berkshire's holdings in riskier businesses that have uncertain futures, such as newspapers, healthcare companies, and credit ratings agencies in favor of more stable long-term picks such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) and ExxonMobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM).
The 13-F filing showed that as of Sept. 30 Berkshire had increased its Wal-Mart holdings by almost 90% over the summer, adding 18 million shares worth nearly $1 billion.
Hershey, the maker of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, said in a statement it's “reviewing its options,” leaving open the door to an offer but not saying one would be forthcoming. Ferrero, the Italian maker of Tic Tacs and Nutella spread, said it was in “preliminary stages of evaluating its options in respect to Cadbury,” according to Reuters.
It's no secret that government spending has been fueling much of the growth in the $14.2 trillion U.S. economy. And if consumers aren't ready for the handoff when that stimulus spending winds down - and they certainly don't appear to be - it will be up to the U.S. business sector to carry the ball.
And it's not at all clear that Corporate America is ready, willing or able to fulfill that role.